How to Overcome Wikiphobia

You've been to Wikipedia, wikiHow, and other wikis. Are you still afraid to edit? Everyone who has ever written on a wiki can remember the nerves the first time he or she pressed "save". Here are some tips on getting past that point.


  1. 1
    Just read for a while. It's perfectly all right to read wikis without editing them. It's also a good way to learn the culture and conventions.
  2. 2
    Review the help section and any tours or tutorials. If you read a bit, you can start editing already familiar with the site and its functions and rules.
  3. 3
    Create an account. Using an account name, even if it is a made-up nickname, is both more anonymous and more personal than editing "anonymously". Most wikis track anonymous edits by IP address, which usually contains at least some geographical information. With a nickname, on the other hand, you can protect your identity and still establish a reputation and history within the community.
  4. 4
    Make a test edit. Find a testing page, often called a "sandbox", where you are allowed to make test edits. Use this place to learn how formatting and other wiki functions work.
  5. 5
    Make small edits at first. Fix a spelling or grammatical error. Categorize a page. Add a link to some other page.
  6. 6
    Use the Preview button to see what your edits will look like before you save.
  7. 7
    Get the attention of an administrator or other veteran user. Most are happy to help and get you pointed in the right direction.
  8. 8
    Don't worry too much about making mistakes, especially at first. You can't break the wiki. Wikis are designed to make it easy to improve pages. Do take note of anything that is changed about your edits and any advice or instructions you are given.
  9. 9
    Learn a bit about the community of people who are editing with you. Ask questions, get to know people, and make friends.
  10. 10
    Find things to do that will be appreciated by the community. Patrol others' edits, look for to-do lists, start requested articles, or expand stubs.


  • Look through the page history on some articles. You will probably find that even the good ones started small and incomplete. Wiki pages grow through a process of evolution.
  • Start with a smaller wiki. You are more likely to find things to contribute there, and you are less likely to be overwhelmed by how much is going on. Smaller wikis often have tighter communities of editors.
  • Use discussion or talk pages. Do you have something to add but don't quite know how? Most wikis have a discussion or talk page for each entry where you can make suggestions, ask what to do, and so on.
  • Many wikis, including Wikipedia and wikiHow count being bold as part of their policies, precisely because it takes a certain amount of confidence or boldness to begin editing.
  • Editing gets easier with practice, so make a point to practice.


  • Always try to edit wikis in good faith. That means that, even if your writing isn't perfect, you should show that you are trying to improve matters or advance the interests of the wiki.

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Categories: Wikis | Phobias